ANAHEIM -- Mariners southpaw James Paxton has been bumped up a day to start Thursday against the Angels, taking the place of Felix Hernandez in the series finale at Angel Stadium.Hernandez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a stiff lower back on Tuesday, though he's expected to rejoin
ANAHEIM -- Mariners southpaw James Paxton has been bumped up a day to start Thursday against the Angels, taking the place of Felix Hernandez in the series finale at Angel Stadium.
Hernandez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a stiff lower back on Tuesday, though he's expected to rejoin the rotation after next week's All-Star break.
Paxton will start on his normal four days of rest since the Mariners had an off-day on Monday. The club will promote a spot starter from Triple-A Tacoma to pitch Friday's Interleague series opener in Denver against the Rockies, with Wade LeBlanc and Mike Leake then staying on schedule to start Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
"That will give Pax an extended break through the All-Star break," manager Scott Servais said. "We've tried to map it out and take advantage of the break the best we can to give these guys a blow. We're still putting together plans on how we come out of the break, when we have a three-game series and then another off-day, a two-game series and another off-day.
"So this is really a time for our guys to kind of recharge the batteries a little. But the key right now is to finish strong leading into the break and feel good about where everybody is at."
• Servais said catcher Mike Zunino is throwing and doing some light hitting off a tee as he recovers from a bone bruise on his left ankle that landed him on the 10-day DL last Thursday.
"He feels good," said Servais. "He's not running yet, but he's putting weight on it. I'm very, very optimistic that he'll back when we come out of the break."
Zunino could potentially join Triple-A Tacoma for a rehab game next week to get some at-bats before the Mariners resume play on July 20 against the White Sox at Safeco Field.
• Erasmo Ramirez threw a live batting practice of about 20-25 pitches on Wednesday in Everett and is "moving in the right direction," according to Servais. The right-hander has been sidelined since May 1 with a strained shoulder. He'll likely throw a 35-40 pitch live batting practice next and then start a Minor League rehab with one of the Mariners' affiliates.
• Reliever Dan Altavilla is playing light catch now, but has yet to throw off the mound in a bullpen session as he recovers from a right elbow sprain that has sidelined him the past month.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.